More than 30,000 Los Angeles public school teachers began a strike on Monday, January 14th which lasted for a week. It is the first time in three decades that teachers in the district went on strike. Holding plastic-covered signs across the city, the teachers demanded higher pay, smaller classes and more support staff in schools.
Mr. Beaty said, “My wife retired from Los Angeles Unified and she actually went back to her old school and marched with her former co-workers. Even though she retired, to show the solidarity as we did in this school, [she joined the march]. In this school, we also wore our [red shirts] to show solidarity with teachers all over the place.”
The strike affected 500,000 students and 900 schools in the district, which is the second-largest public school system in the nation. The schools remained open through substitutes hired by the city. However, many parents chose to keep their children at home because they supported the strike or because they did not want their children inside schools with a skeletal staff.
After months of negotiations between the teachers’ union, United Teachers Los Angeles and the Los Angeles Unified School District, they decided to go on a strike. Although educators on all sides agree that California should spend more money on education, district officials said that fulfilling all of their demands would bankrupt the system, which is already strained by rising health care and pension costs.
Mr. Beaty added, “I used to be a Los Angeles Unified School District teacher, and I struck with LAUSD in 1989, which was the last time they went on strike. I think this is what we all have to do. Require and request against all of the forces that are tearing teachers down and tearing schools down that are hurting kids, that are underfunding education and underfunding all of the things that students need to learn. So I am a big supporter of the strike, and I stand with the teachers.”
Fortunately, the negotiators for the Los Angeles Unified School District reached an agreement with the United Teachers Los Angeles in the early hours of Tuesday, January 22nd morning after a 21-hour bargaining session.
The agreement includes a 6 percent raise for teachers, smaller class sizes and more nurses and counselors at schools, said Alex Caputo-Pearl, president of the union.